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The Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. 

About SAI | View the South Asia Institute video 

Upcoming Events

Fri, January 9, 2015 - Sat, January 10, 2015  /  New Delhi

Harvard-US India Initiative Annual Conference

The Harvard India Initiative, 2015, hopes to foster targetted dialogue and academic critique on India’s future. This conference is bringing together 450 of the brightest young minds from across the world and India in the hopes of creating a tradition of research-focused policy-making in one of the most vibrant democracies and economies of the world.

More information and how to register.

Tue, January 13, 2015  /  Mumbai, India

Conversation with Dinyar Patel

Dinyar Patel, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Harvard University, SAI Graduate Associate

Today, Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) is primarily identified as an early economic thinker, a leader of the moderate wing of the Congress, and the first Indian elected to the British Parliament. This standard school textbook description, however, does little justice to the “Grand Old Man of India,” who was a far more complex and dynamic individual. During his nearly six decades of active political work, Naoroji laid the foundations for much of the Indian nationalist movement and became a globally recognized anti-imperialist figure.

Drawing on over three years of intensive research in India, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, Patel will present a detailed examination of Naoroji’s career and also highlight some unusual finds from the archives.

Dinyar Patel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Harvard University. His research has been supported by two grants from the Fulbright Program. Patel is co-editor, with Mushirul Hasan, of From Ghalib’s Dilli to Lutyens’ New Delhi: A Documentary Record (Oxford University Press, 2013) and co-editor, with S.R. Mehrotra, of Dadabhai Naoroji: Selected Private Papers (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015). He is currently completing his dissertation on Naoroji.

More details to follow.

Tue, Jan 13, 2015

Tue, Jan 13, 2015

Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India

Thu, January 29, 2015  /  CGIS Knafel Concourse

The Politickle Pickle

An Exhibition of Editorial Cartoons and Caricatures on India and the United States by Shreyas Navare, Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Editorial Cartoonist, Hindustan Times; Author, The Politickle Pickle: Vol. 1 & 2.

On display December 7, 2014–January 29, 2015

Open Mondays-Thursdays 7am – 9pm; Fridays 7am – 7pm

Co-sponsorsed by the Weatherhead Center Fellows Program, South Asian Arts Council, and Hindustan Times.

Join the Facebook event.

Thu, Jan 29, 2015

Thu, Jan 29, 2015

CGIS Knafel Concourse

1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Sat, January 31, 2015  /  CGIS South Concourse

Coded Elegance

SAI Photo Exhibit

On Display in the CGIS South Concourse from Nov. 5, 2014 – Jan. 31, 2015. 

Open Mondays-Thursdays 7am – 9pm; Fridays 7am – 7pm

Capturing South Asia: Interview with Pablo Bartholomew

Coded Elegance, by Pablo Bartholomew, is a series of ethno-anthropological photographs of tribes and people of the hills and valleys of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur, taken from 1989 to 2000.

Coded Elegance constitutes a mere fragment of Bartholomew’s extensive visual anthropological documentation of the various tribes and people residing in the low Himalayan hills and valleys of Northeast India — a people whose lives are marked by tradition and transition. The series, an off shoot of Marked with Beauty, his 2000 exhibition of rich, color photographs of the many Naga tribes, is influenced by his own collection of portraits of the Darjeeling hill tribes by Johnston and Hoffman, and Irving Penn’s body of work in Papua New Guinea.

It explores his journey and interaction with tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland — diverse communities with myriad different languages and dialects — as well as the people inhabiting the valleys in that region. The preservation of their traditional cultures articulated through their dress, rituals, and rites of passage, forms the overarching subject of Coded Elegance.

With generous support from the Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund, the Arts Initiative at SAI brings experienced and emerging artists to Harvard whose work focus is on social issues related to South Asia.  

Sat, Jan 31, 2015

Sat, Jan 31, 2015

CGIS South Concourse
Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


Tragedy in Pakistan

“This is a day of deep reflection. War strategy against extremists, whether through drone strikes or carpet-bombing, must factor in the lives of children beyond collateral damage and prepare especially to protect the most vulnerable in society on both sides.”

    Ayesha Jalal: The Struggle for Pakistan

    In a SAI Book Talk on Dec. 3, renowned Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University, spoke about her new book and highlighted the need for a comprehensive historical interpretation of Pakistan’s narrative and encouraged members of the audience to view the history of the country through a geopolitical lens rather than a religious one.

      SAI Fellowships

      The South Asia Institute offers several opportunities for scholars and practitioners to continue their research at Harvard University in Cambridge. Deadline to apply: January 15, 2015 for Academic Year 2015-2016.

        2015 Student Winter Grant Recipients

        SAI has awarded 18 grants to support undergraduate and graduate student projects over the Winter Session in January, 2015. These include 6 undergraduates and 12 graduate students who will be traveling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka for research and internships.

          Thank you!

          This Thanksgiving, the South Asia Institute would like to thank our supporters all over the world and at Harvard, without whom we would not be able to fulfill our mission of advancing and deepening research on global issues in South Asia.

            Mass casualty triage

            “The goal of triage is doing the greatest good for the greatest number – it’s not doing everything you can for every patient,” Dr. Usha Periyanayagam explained, in SAI’s second webinar of the semester, on Nov. 19.

              Shaping problem-solvers

              A Harvard Gazette article looks at SAI Director Tarun Khanna’s Gen Ed course, which spans disciplines to address social, economic challenges in South Asia.

                2014 Student Grant Report

                In 2014, SAI awarded 46 grants to students to do a variety internships and research projects in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Read first-hand experiences from students in SAI’s Grant Report.

                  In Memory of John Briscoe

                  SAI is saddened to hear the news that John Briscoe, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering and Environmental Health, SEAS, and SAI Steering Committee member, passed away on November 12, 2014. John was a passionate scholar with a deep dedication to water issues and development.

                    Capturing South Asia: Interview with Pablo Bartholomew

                    Indian photographer Pablo Bartholomew has witnessed many of South Asia’s tragedies and triumphs – perhaps most famously the gas tragedy in Bhopal. During his visit to Harvard, SAI sat down with Bartholomew to discuss his photo exhibit, the aftermath of the Bhopal tragedy, how photojournalism is changing, and how his South Asian heritage has influenced his work.

                      Creating unique digital identities

                      Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) delivered the SAI Annual Mahindra Lecture on Nov. 3. During his tenure as chairman of UIDAI, Nilekani designed and implemented Aadhaar, a national biometric identification project wherein each Indian is issued a twelve-digit number that is unique to them.